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Government Contracts: Climate Emergency

Volume 662: debated on Thursday 20 June 2019

1. What recent discussions he has had with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on including provisions to tackle the environment and climate emergency in future Government contracts. (911451)

How grateful I am, Mr Speaker, to hear you say that there can indeed be no opposition.

Tackling the climate change and environment emergency is a cross-Government priority and an issue that I discuss regularly with Cabinet colleagues. The greening government commitments include specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving sustainable procurement. Those commitments demonstrate the Government’s leadership in improving the environmental sustainability of their own estate, and the 2018 revisions to the Green Book have also improved the evaluation of the natural capital impacts of Government decision making.

Tomorrow, young people in Nottingham will demonstrate because we are not moving quickly enough on our climate emergency. This House declared such an emergency on 1 May, saying that the Government should

“set ambitious, short-term targets for… low carbon energy and transport”.

When we will see those targets?

It is already the case that we are the first Government of a developed nation to embrace the ambition of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. I congratulate the Members across the House who have campaigned to ensure that that commitment is at the heart of this Government’s proposals—indeed, it is a vision—to ensure that we leave a cleaner, greener planet for the next generation.

Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating the Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office team on their amazing diplomatic success in the negotiations with Italy, which mean that next year’s global climate change conference is almost certain to come to London?

The Foreign Secretary has done an outstanding job on the diplomatic stage and will continue to do so. Co-operating with our partners across western Europe, including Italy, will ensure that the 2020 conference of the parties brings nations together to deal with this global challenge. The Secretary of State for International Development has also played a distinguished role alongside the Foreign Secretary in using our global footprint to ensure that our planet is in a more sustainable state.

17. As has been said, this House declared a climate emergency on 1 May. In recent weeks, pupils at Abercanaid Community School and Ysgol Rhyd y Grug in my constituency have been in contact with me to urge this Parliament to do all that we can to address the climate emergency. Will the Secretary of State outline the specific actions that he will take on Government contracts, and on any other measures, to give the pupils in my constituency and elsewhere the confidence that this Government are serious and will meet their target of net zero emissions by 2050? (911467)

I congratulate the students in his constituency and so many other students across the country on helping to ensure that our climate and environment emergency is at the heart of our decision making. We will put greening government and greening the whole country at the heart of our decision making in the forthcoming spending review.